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How I Live Now

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  31,897 Ratings  ·  3,990 Reviews
“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fai
Paperback, 211 pages
Published 2005 by Penguin (first published January 1st 2004)
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Stacy Byc Those speech marks are called, quotation marks. It appears to be all narrative, as if the character where talking directly to the reader and not…moreThose speech marks are called, quotation marks. It appears to be all narrative, as if the character where talking directly to the reader and not writing a story. If the author has conversations between characters? Wont know without reading the complete book.(less)
Lara Somerville To be honest the book it quite like the movie but they do change somethings and don't go to far into why she is in England. Though for me i liked the…moreTo be honest the book it quite like the movie but they do change somethings and don't go to far into why she is in England. Though for me i liked the movie more than the book (which isn't my usual opinion). Sariose Ronan has to be one of my favourite actresses and i definitely think you should watch the movie, after reading the book of course.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 03, 2011 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: critical readers, mature readers, thoughtful readers
Shelves: favorites, teen-lit
I spent a while considering how I would rate this book, but finally decided on a full 5/5 rating, and here's why:

It troubles me greatly that so many readers can't see past the unconventional relationship between our protagonist and her cousin, because it so wholly isn't what the book is about. That's the only real downfall of "How I live Now"--unfortunately, Meg Rosoff seemed to target her book towards an audience too immature to realize that this novel is a novel about SURVIVAL. It's a novel ab
Kat Kennedy
In all fairness, I had plenty of warning. I'd read Tatiana's review so I should have been well prepared.

Conventional wisdom states that when cousins get freaky, you're likely to end up with something like this:

No! No! Noooooooooooooooooo!

But nobody told Daisy and Edmond that. Nothing says true love like boinking your underage, nicotine addicted, telepathic first cousin while a war is going on.

This book was infinitely better when Daisy and Edmond weren't doing things against all the laws of God a
takes some balls for a white woman to claim that she's the only one who can write diversity properly.


she wears her privilege like a pimp wears his furs.

but the best part tho is the bit where she says that when anyone else writes diverse characters, it's an "agenda," which has no place in young adult literature, according to her.


no, for real.

that's literally what she said.


fuck your needs, people—this white lady's ragey pootling is all the diversity you or your kids will ever require.


s'cool th
This summer I started doing more fitnessy activities not in an attempt to lose weight or clear my prematurely blocked arteries but in response to the plethora of Young Adult Dystopian Novels that led me to question whether I could a) win the Hunger Games b) jump from a moving train with my Dauntless buddies c) take out an alien with a swift kick to the face and then evade their hot spaceship pursuit. The answers to these questions are a) no b) no c) no.

Young Adult Dystopian Novels forced me to
Steph Sinclair
Oct 11, 2015 Steph Sinclair marked it as due-to-author  ·  review of another edition
I encourage you all to read this beautiful piece by Kaye M.:

For more info:
Maggie Stiefvater
I didn't like this weird little book until about halfway through. The narrator sounded too much like a teen (I know, I know) and I didn't know what was going on . . . but then I somehow got lost in the voice. Suddenly I was seeing things through the narrator's eyes and no one else's. This slim volume is like a textbook on how to write limited first person. Absolutely excellent.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. C
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
While the world wavers on the brink of war, struck by terrorist attacks and embargoes, Daisy's big concern is whether her stepmother is poisoning her food and how much she hates the unborn baby. Shipped off by her father to stay with cousins she's never met in England, she's not so far into herself that she doesn't notice something a bit odd about them.

Osbert, the eldest, seems fairly normal, being responsible for his siblings while their mother, Daisy's Aunt Penn, is away but really wanting to
how i live now has been called a modern-day Jane Eyre – which I can dig, had Bronte’s novel been set during a terrorist occupation and featured incestuous teenage romance. (St John Rivers doesn't count.) Fleeing a disinterested father, a wicked stepmother, and an eating disorder, 15-year-old Daisy moves to England to live with her cousins on a farm. Their idyllic adventures are interrupted by a war with an unnamed, unseen enemy, and the children are forced to go on the run as food, water, and ev ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took a while to get into, but once you get used to the writing style it's really captivating and wonderful.
Khanh (the Grinch)
Actual rating: 3.5
"I guess there was a war going on somewhere in the world that night but it wasn’t one that could touch us."
Recommended with some reservations.

I read this book on accident. By "accident," I don't mean I mistakenly read a book instead when I thought I had been playing Plants vs. Zombies 2 I'm not that stupid, I meant that I picked up this book thinking the story would be something else. During World War II in England, there was an operation to evacuate children from the larger
Feb 22, 2010 Tatiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who don't mind incest and underage sex
Shelves: ya, 2010, ala-ya-2005, printz
What a weird little book! Granted, I am into weird, but "How I Live Now" just wasn't my kind of weird I guess.

There were many things I liked about the story - the fact that it didn't fit in any genre (it started as a story of an anorexic girl, then morphed into some kind of dystopia and then became a survival story), I liked Daisy's voice - snarky and witty with a healthy dose of unreasonableness and selfishness, the portrayal of war was gritty, and Daisy's personal struggle with weight was fair
Jun 08, 2009 karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i may just be giving this five stars out of surprise... i was dreading reading all these teen books - not all of them look bad or anything, but there are just so many and i am so far away from my teenage years... but this one is a hoot! (if a book about war and death and eating disorders and all horrible things can be said to be a hoot.for my purposes i say yes) i liked the characters voice, it was just the right combination of faux-sophistication and vulnerability. and all the survival stuff wa ...more
Wendy Darling
2.5 stars I'd heard so many raves about this book that I was expecting to be blown away. The idea of a futuristic setting for a historical war type drama sounded intriguing to me, and I wasn't turned off by the controversial topics covered in it, including the kissing cousins. So it's very strange to read the entire novel without feeling a single genuine emotion other than annoyance at both the characters and the plot.

The war setting and story was perfectly serviceable, though not one that was p
Christina White
Horrible. This book contained inappropriate content for the recommended 13 year old and up readers. An anorexic 15 year old has sex with her "cool", cigarette smoking cousin. This book is everything you wouldn't want your 13 year old reading about. On top of the disgusting content I found there to be really no plot and no real clear resolution or ending. The characters were strangers to me the entire time while reading. I found the whole story rather boring and pointless.

Nov 08, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Now let's try to understand that falling into sexual and emotional thrall with an underage blood relative hadn't exactly been on my list of Things to Do while visiting England, but I was coming around to the belief that whether you liked it or not, Things Happen and once they start happening you pretty much have to hold on for dear life and see where they drop you when they stop"

This is the sentence that made me want to read How I Live Now

I want to explain my rating a little bit and that sp
Aug 03, 2015 Etnik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feb 20, 2008 Emma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At first I was hesitant to put this book in my CLW line up because it is not, actually, a book I love. However, after giving the matter some thought I've decided that even though I don't adore it, this novel does fit my basic "chick lit" guideline (strong female character in a book written by a female author) so it gets to stay.

"How I Live Now" is Meg Rosoff's first novel. It is a Printz Award winner (an award for excellence in young adult literature), the Branford Boase Award for a first novel,
Nov 23, 2014 Katja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of my favorites. I love Rosoff's simple writing, which has a massive effect on the book.
Another reviewer wrote how the story is not - which would be the obvious assumption - about the love between Daisy and Edmond. It's about survival and how people come together in unexpected ways caused by the circumstances. I agree.

I think I gasped out loud when I realized I was on the second last page of the book. "How I Live Now" is beautiful in its simplicity and it's one that sticks with
Aug 29, 2007 Punk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
YA. This is almost one of those staples of children's literature where the unwanted child gets sent off to live with strange relatives in the English countryside, then the cousins all have precious adventures together and learn a little something about family. It's almost like that, except a war breaks out and their precious adventures turn into gritty survivalism instead. Even in the middle of rations and artillery, our narrator has a kind of implicit eating disorder, and I still can't tell if ...more
Jul 17, 2014 Ariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The good things:
- The stream of consciousness type thing that was going on here was so interesting. It wasn't nonsensical in anyway, but it really felt like this was a girl telling a story at us, but for her own benefit.
- The quotation marks: there was none, and they added to this whole sense of "this is her story not ours." Except without those quotation marks.
- The survivalness: It got real out there, peeps. Painful and dirty.
- The voice: it was unwavering and resolu
The writing is superb, I immersed myself in the streaming consciousness of Daisy’s narration and breathed after 10 hours or so.

When Daisy described nature I could feel the touch and the smell of it, when Daisy described her auntie’s house I was right there, the food made me hungry, I rejoiced for her love and suffered for her loss.

Daisy is a sharp sarcastic new yorker whose only weapon against oblivion is food-deprivation, when she visits her cousins in England she senses that everything is diff
Sep 08, 2007 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, war, dystopian
I started reading this book at the store, got to chapter 26, and realized it was the end of my lunch break. Today I got it from the library, finished it, and immediately started again.

Possibly this is all because of my general obsession with social history and behavior around/during particular contemporary wars, but still I think it's good enough to induce compulsion. I find the arc of the story quick, violent (literally/metaphorically), and extremely believable. The character development and in
Jan 02, 2016 Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I really love this book, but I wouldn't recommend most people read the print book. This is a sad and brilliant and beautiful book but it's so much easier if you listen to the audiobook instead, because the author has a tendency to Capitalize Words Randomly and not use "quotation marks" when people are speaking so it's kind of hard to tell and then the sentences are really quite long. I liked the style when rereading but many, many people did not. So definitely choose the audiobook, since these, ...more
May 20, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
For me this seems a swirling together of four different books. Firstly a book of enormous lyricism and poetry – about people, about landscapes, about relationships and feelings. Secondly a book about a group of children having an adventure, with a journey being an important part of that adventure – it could have been penned by Enid Blyton in this respect. It evoked her world of childhood loyalty and that incredibly warm spirit of companionship. Thirdly it was a book about war, death, fear, loss ...more
Raeleen Lemay
May 12, 2015 Raeleen Lemay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own

THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. It's so weird to be saying that now, since for the past 6 years or so I've been convinced that I hated it. I couldn't even finish it the first time I tried to read it, which is ridiculous to me now! However, I can understand why. The writing style is very stream-of-consciousness, and there are no quotation marks around dialogue, which can be a little strange for readers. But since the first time I tried to read How I Live Now, I've read hundreds more books, and theref
Ellen Gail
Nov 27, 2016 Ellen Gail marked it as try-again-later  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blah
I have no earthly idea what is wrong with me. I couldn't finish this tiny ass < 200 page book. Look at how tiny it is. Here's the paperback compared to a standard cat.

I should have finished this in an hour, maybe two. Instead I have spent a solid week trying to read this and failing.

I ended up getting through just over half. It's likely that I'll give How I Live Now another try sometime in the future. It's not aggressively bad or anything. But for right now the writing style is annoying me, t
Saw the movie, came back home, went to Amazon, bought this book.

I must say I read the book because I loved the movie. Not the other way around. A very high bar was doomed to be overcame. They are nothing alike, the movie is more thrilling, the book is more touching, but I recommend you to watch it, because it’s a great movie about youth and love and family and war and survival. The book uses a lots of “ands” to compensate for the lack of quoting and the sentences are quite long, resulting in an
3 to 3.5 Stars

First thought after finishing the book: Boy, this book was weird.

Second thought: What a weird book.

Third thought: So freaking weird.

Skipping my next fifty thoughts let me try to actually talk about something other than the weirdness of this book.

How I Live Now is essentially a survival story but it doesn’t begin as one, we get a snarky Manhattan resident protag sent off to England to live with her cousins where she surprises everyone by adjusting very easily with them. So, at f
Jun 08, 2009 Greg rated it really liked it
Book two on the summer of Young Adult books.

The teacher for the class I'm taking has this categorized under the "Realistic / Contemporary" category, which is a little weird, as it's set in an alternate-ish post 9/11 world from our own, and has characters with magical-ish powers. Maybe her world is a little different from mine though.

About the book though, there is quite a bit going for it. Once again I'm surprised at finding myself enjoying a Young Adult book as much as I did. What I found mos
Oct 13, 2015 Rose marked it as not-my-cup-of-tea  ·  review of another edition
There was once a time I really wanted to read this author's works because of high praises some of my bookish friends have given her.

But I can't say I'm interested anymore, and I share a fair measure of anger and sadness over it. :(
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Meg Rosoff was born in Boston and had three or four careers in publishing and advertising before she moved to London in 1989, where she lives now with her husband and daughter. Formerly a Young Adult author, Meg has earned numerous prizes including the highest American and British honors for YA fiction: the Michael L. Printz Award and the Carnegie Medal.
More about Meg Rosoff...

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“I don't get nearly enough credit in life for the things I manage not to say.” 353 likes
“I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments, I was dying of loss.
The only help for my condition, then as now, is that I refused to let go of what I loved. I wrote everything down, at first in choppy fragments; a sentence here, a few words there, it was the most I could handle at the time. Later I wrote more, my grief muffled but not eased by the passage of time.
When I go back over my writing now I can barely read it. The happiness is the worst. Some days I can't bring myself to remember. But I will not relinquish a single detail of the past. What remains of my life depends on what happened six years ago.
In my brain, in my limbs, in my dreams, it is still happening.”
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